2012 Annual Report
2. To integrate discovery-based, applied and on-farm research to optimize field production outcomes.
The goal of this cooperative project is to mitigate limitations of grafted seedlings for U.S. open-field vegetable production to eliminate or reduce methyl bromide use for controlling soil-borne pests. During this reporting period, initial field experiments were conducted in Florida, in cooperation with commercial growers, including a field experiment evaluating grafted heirloom tomato production, performed in cooperation with an organic grower in St. Lucie, County FL. Also microplot, greenhouse, and growth chamber experiments were conducted to evaluate grafting techniques, virus resistance, and nematode susceptibility, and data was collected and is being analyzed. Additional field trials were designed and scheduled for Fall 2012, in cooperation with organic and sustainable growers in St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties. Rootstock trials were planted at two sites which included trials of 16-18 rootstocks under conventional and organic culture. Most of the rootstocks used were commercially available. USDA, ARS researchers are active in Executive and Advisory Team meetings, and commodity (tomato and cucurbit) Working Groups. Numerous conference calls (2/27, 3/13, 3/27, 4/19, 4/23, and 6/21) have been attended to coordinate Advisory Team, Executive Team, and Working Group activities, and an informational webinar was led by cooperators at North Carolina State University on 4/26. In addition, the ARS PI was invited to give a symposium presentation on grafting for nematode control at the 2012 Annual Phytopathological Society Meeting, and members of the research team are actively involved in planning a symposium and stakeholder workshop at the Annual International Conference for Methyl Bromide Alternatives.